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September 28, 2005

Inside and out

Not to interrupt the Curlicue high or anything, but I've got something else to talk about - my sample knit for Annie Modesitt's new book, Men Who Knit (and the dogs who love them).

The description of the sample knit makes it seem almost trivial - it's just a felted dog bed knit out of KnitPicks Sierra. However, Annie's signature cleverness is present through and through!

First, the sides of the dog bed are striped and the reverse stockinette side is the public side. You know that's going to look super cool all felted up!

Second, the sides are double-knit. I've never used that technique before, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe traditionally only one strand is used at a time. However, the particular way in which Annie designed the double-knitting requires knitting with two yarns at once! At first, I was using both of my hands, the way people often do when knitting Fair Isle designs:

My left hand is purling, and my right, knitting.

You know on my Gilligan's Island left hand is Captain and the right hand is just an awkward Skipper, so to make sure I was on the right track, I e-mailed Annie and asked her how she intended the pattern to be knit. Annie wrote back that (no surprise) she has no intentions of telling anyone how to knit! But she mentioned that she held both strands in her left hand. I gave it a try, and the technique is simply brilliant:

Believe it or not, in this picture I'm alternating purling and knitting with each of the yarns! Incredible!

So, you know that double-knitting produces a double-thickness fabric with a "pocket" in the middle. Annie took advantage of this and wrote her pattern in such a way that one side of the pocket is closed, and the other open - that way fiberfill can be stuffed into each pocket before it's seamed up!

You wanna take a look inside this magical pocket? Remember, this is the wrong side of the work:

So cool! (Also, easy to adjust directions in case the dog owner wants the stripes on the right side).

I'm so excited about this project because double-knitting in this way is awesome (and looks mighty impressive), the way the pocket is formed without any extra work is genius (you'll just have to knit it yourself to find out how!), and I just love glancing inside it to see all the cool stripes!

Oh yeah, ten exclamation points in that entry! Well, now eleven ;).

Oh, that thing about my sidebar - I forgot to check browser compatibility. So although my girl Betsy, a fellow Mac user, was able to figure things out, those of you using PC IE... not so much :). Classic mistake on my part. I think it's better now.

Posted by Kathy on September 28, 2005 10:02 PM


I have seen double-knitting patterns that use one strand of yarn at a time and patterns that use two strands. I've never tried either way. But I thought that there was a way to double knit so that the two sides are stuck together (no pocket).

The bed looks perfect for a very spoiled dog!

I'll add some exclamation points! I am so jealous of your knit and purl set-up there! Amazing. (!)

Well that looks like fun! Can't wait to see the result and Annie's new book.

That bed sounds pretty darn nifty, Miss. I'll definitely be making one of those for Rosie The Dog and Hazel May The Boxer. Hehehe.

Oh, and when I researched double knitting, I did see both methods you describe. So, I'm not sure if it's trademark Annie, but it's definitely cool!

If only I could comfortably knit Continental, I could totally take advantage of it. Sigh!

Question: I am in the process of double knitting the Hoover Blanket from knitty exactly the way you described (holding both strands in my left hand), my problem is that I keep twisting the strands together. How did you avoid that? It is very frustrating! It is making this a very long project.


that's such a classic Annie response. i love it.

i'm glad you were able to navigate the 2 yarns in one hand. i knit with the yarn in my left hand too, but with 2 strands my hand cramps up. so i've stuck with holding a color in each hand.

oh my, that looks complicated. can't wait to see it finished! and this thing about the sidebar - i looked at my blog on a pc using IE and it looked very wrong, is that what you mean? and how do you fix it?

That Annie is one very thoughtful designer. Glad that you're enjoying the project.

Fabulous technique and the results are amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing thte finished product.

Very cool double-knitting technique. Annie seems like a very interesting designer. I once tried double knitting with disastrous results. But perhaps one day I will try it again with this technique!

I learned how to double knit from an episode of Knitty Gritty - http://www.diynet.com/diy/na_knitting/article/0,2025,DIY_14141_3603864,00.html and hold one yarn in each hand. I'm having trouble imagining how you can hold both yarns in the same hand - can you explain further?

That's really cool! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished result. Your sidebar is very clever :).

The sidebar works fine in Mozilla Firefox, further proving that IE should be abandoned.

Thanks for the double knitting pics! I may just finally figure out how to do it properly.

Looks beautiful!! You're such a talented knitter.

Wow -- that's really cool! I tried a double-knit headband (out of that knit hats!) book last year and it didn't go so well ... I was using your first method. I think I'd try it again using your second method. Annie M is so amazing, isn't she?

By the way, I just started knitting Forbes Forest from Scarf Style. I'm having trouble making the knits and purls with the same tension when you flip from one side to the other.

I'm trying my best to follow your cabling without a cable needle directions and it's still so confusing!!! But I have faith that I'll get there!!

I've only knitted a few rows.... doesn't look really good. Did you have a hard time in the beginning?

Very cool - I've never tried double knitting, but it looks awesome. I can't wait to see the book.

That is so awesome! I am definitely going to knit this when the book comes out.

Looks fantastic! I can't wait to see the final project!! Woo hoo HOO!!!

That technique is super cool.
I was thinking about knitting a sweater with KnitPicks Sierra. I am worried about it not being soft enough. Would you recomend the yarn?

That's so awesome that your knitting will be published! If I ever see that book I'll make sure to look for it : )

You're going great on your blanket too... Woo!! So much good knitting things going on for you!

I did the Hoover Blanket from Knitty right after that pattern was published and used two colors at once in one hand.

It is fun and means you can do something that looks simple but that requires a little attention. I like that.

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